What a dangerous thing it is to be a functioning addict. I was strung out on cocaine at the age of 17. I am a third generation addict.
My uncle died on the streets of Frederick from a heroin overdose. My brother is an alcoholic and it kills me to see him. My dad never really experienced addiction. He and my mother were recreational users on the weekends, snorting cocaine lines for fun on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. And on Monday, he would wake up and go to work unfazed. My mother, however, became consumed by her habits. Alcoholism robbed her of her family.
I quit cocaine cold turkey when I fell in love with this guy. He told me to stop, and I did. But I started using pills to treat a medical condition. It was the only remedy I discovered that made me feel better.
Then we started using pills together, taking a Vicodin here and there. It wasn’t a big deal then. I became a pharmacy chick for awhile. Weighing in at 90 pounds, how could I have been prescribed a three- month supply of Xanax, Oxycontin and Oxycodone in one office visit? I quickly learned that drug transactions happen in doctors’ offices just as much as on the streets.
The heroin use began when there was a drought of Oxycontin in the community. Working dead end fast food jobs, I would do drug transactions at the drive thru windows with free food and money for
napkin-wrapped “stuff.” I used the restroom frequently and as my addiction deepened. The breaks would take longer as I had more trouble “hitting it.” My veins were giving up. But I didn’t.
I stole money nightly from the cash registers but my stealing methods became sloppy. Rumors starting spreading that the blonde, blue-eyed chick was selling drugs out of her car. Drug money comes quick and goes quick. It’s not like we couldn’t make $1000 in two days. I would shoot up in the car. I would shoot up in the bathroom. My habits were becoming too expensive.
When I was hospitalized for 14 days for a blood infection from using dirty needles, four nurses grappled with finding my weak veins.
After trying my feet, hip and arms without success, IV was stapled to
my neck and shot in my juggler. The scar remains. My limbs were brittle. But still that wasn’t my saving grace.
I used to try to overdose every night and pray for death to come.
Every morning I awoke, I couldn’t escape this. I wouldn’t make it past
25. Why am I still here… I would be a drug addict for the rest of my life until the day I died.
We tried to get clean a few times, my boyfriend and I. We took the road
frequently traveled — to the Methadone Clinic. But I ended up shooting heroin and cocaine in addition to Methadone, anyway.
I was losing myself.
On November 1, 2010, he left me. I was the “piece of shit” junkie he abandoned for a free-loving brunette savior who would rescue him from his demons. Onlookers think I should have died when the only man for whom I lived discarded me for someone better. But he saved my life.
I cut off everybody and everything while I laid on the couch for six
weeks and endured withdrawal—no crutch.
Many people go to rehab and it’s a little cushy for them. I laid there alone. I puked. I couldn’t sleep. I had tremors. I shot up my veins with water just to feel the familiar warm sensation. Anything to get by.
Being with him meant I could have died in his arms. The history we have and the time invested only prolonged and deepened my dependence on him and distrust with myself around him. I would always fall for what he wanted to do. A place all too comfortable, I would never say no.
One of us had to walk away from the other. For that I thank him. The methadone clinic staff warned him to tell me to come back. He broke up with me so I stopped going there. I didn’t want to see him. They said I wouldn’t make it, that I cannot just stop.
November 1, 2014 will be my fourth anniversary of sobriety. Look at the years I’ve wasted. But I made it, a quarter century and all…
I apologized to everyone. He’s tried to rekindle what we had. But we can’t go back to that. No, we cannot be friends. I did anything to be
with him. The desperation in that frightens me. Especially now with him being a heroin dealer who uses his own product. But I heard he’s not as bad as he used to be. I avoid gas stations because I can’t face people from my past. I see friends who still struggle with addiction, to
them rehab is a revolving door. They ask me to come visit but I’m still
It was ironic that after my liberating triumph in the battle with heroin, I had to attend Alcoholics Anonymous and drug counseling for a DUI. I hated myself for it. Are you kidding me? It was a slap in the face. I thought I was scot-free, drinking isn’t even my thing. I passed out at the wheel while turning on Route 26. I don’t remember anything but the bottom of the glass.
My car hit a light pole, went through a telephone pole and I walked out, unharmed. I didn’t die then.
Here I am now, 26. Today is my birthday. Some say I hold my past too close to me. But I can’t let it go. I keep it close to my heart because if I don’t, I’ll forget the pain. And I need it. I carry it as guilt. Still working at restaurants and bullshit jobs to get by. I don’t have much. I came out with nothing.
I will never say I have recovered. I will always say I am recovering because it allows me to stay present in my struggle and never forget what I’ve been through. The moment I say I am recovered, I fear that I will return to who I was and can acknowledge that my past is okay.
And it never will be. They ask what keeps me going, I tell them